A History Of Red Carpet Updos At The Oscars

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Updos can sometimes be synonymous with tragic middle school dances or your elderly aunt's preferred choice of style, but they're actually quite stylish — and no where is that more true than on the red carpet. The Oscars have a history of red carpet updos that dazzle and impress, making those watching at home in their sweatpants want to immediately reach for their bobby pins and teasing combs.

Year after year, we're hit with memorable chignons and top knots, curled twists and inventive ponytails, and one after the other has inspired many Friday night hairdos and hairstylist requests. But that's not to say this only has been happening in the last decade or so. Keep in mind the Academy Awards have been taking place for 89 years, which means we have nearly a century of impressive updos.

From Elizabeth Taylor donning a crown like royalty in the '50s, to Goldie Hawn's sexed up hippie hair in the '70s, and every star since, each look is more memorable than the next. Celebs use the red carpet as a chance to invest in a little glamour and creativity, and what often times resulted was a hairstyle that would be talked about for decades after.

Ahead is a history of red carpet updos, spanning from the '50s to present day, tackling all sorts of variations of the fancy style. Each one is deserved to be remembered — it's tough to choose a favorite.


Elizabeth Taylor's Tiara Updo

Here's Liz Taylor arriving at the Oscars in 1957 in full queen mode. With diamonds sparkling at her ears and her shawl trailing behind her, her tiara-accented updo brought the whole "royalty" aesthetic together.


The Sky-High Updos In 1960

The '60s were all about those atomic hairdos. From beehives to pompadours to ball-like hairstyles that gave your locks a perfect circumference, it was the age of height and hairspray.


Debbie Reynolds's Massive Twist

The hairspray craze didn't slow down halfway into the decade. If anything, judging by this elaborately teased and knotted up-do, one can only assume more and more women were craving volume.


Diahann Carroll's High Bun

In 1964 Diahann Carroll walked the red carpet with her hair done up in a way that seemed typical for a ball or a princess-like affair. She looks elegant and fanciful all at once.


Goldie Hawn's Half Updo

Goldie Hawn's hair is the epitome of the '70s: Loose and bed-tumbled, with a flower tucked in for good measure.


Diana Ross' Voluminous Curls

Diana Ross shows that there's still a lot of volume during the disco era. She struts down the red carpet in 1973 with her curls teased to incredible heights and pinned up in a way that defies gravity.


Meryl Streep's Black Tie Mullet

It's like the black tie version of a mullet and it's absolutely amazing. In 1983 Meryl Streep showed up at the Oscars in this romantic, '80s-centric style, where her bangs were curled and pinned back, with a short fall of hair cascading in ringlets in the back.


Helena Bonham Carter's Frizzy Side Pony

Everything about the '80s was frizzy, including their evening hairstyles. Helena Bonham Carter is the perfect specimen of an '80s It-girl with that teased out, unruly side pony and thick scrunchie.


Whitney Houston's Chunky Layers

If you ever went to a grade school dance or wedding in the '90s, you'll understand just how popular Whitney Houston's chunky face framing layers were. They made you feel seductive and mysterious and gorgeous all at once.


JLo's Low Up-Do

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In 2003 it seemed like almost every other starlet was rocking a low chignon or side bun while gliding down in designer dresses and diamonds.


Christina Aguilera's Piece-y Updo

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In 2005 Christina Aguilera showed up in a piece-y, feathered updo that had the kind of face framing layers that made you think back to the It-Girls in '90s teen movies. It was amazing.


Jessica Alba's Updo Braids

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Not sure if it was thanks to the bohemian trend and the Olsen twins, but the late 2000's stamped almost every other woman with a braid.


Penelope Cruz's Flirty Bang Updo

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Penelope Cruz brought back Audrey Hepburn's flair with her low bun and side-swept bangs in 2009. The look gave her the appearance that she had a flirty pixie just like the 'iconic actress in Roman Holiday.


Anna Kendrick's Romantic Tendrils

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Anna Kendrick went with a romantic, wispy look in 2010 that saw a lot of volume at the crown and piece-y flyaways by her face. Meanwhile when I attempt this look at home I look like I just woke up form a 13 hour nap and my bun came undone. Flawless.


Sharon Stone's Behive

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In 2011 Sharon Stone brought the '60s back to the red carpet with her intense and impressive beehive. She outdid everyone in the volume department that year and looked fabulous doing it.


Jennifer Lopez's Society Ball Hair

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Just like in the '60s, 2012 saw a swell of princess-approved hairstyles that reached major height and glamour. Jennifer Lopez's pristine ballerina bun summarizes the trend perfectly.


Salma Hayek's Gilded Bun

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The year right after, Salma Hayek outdid J Lo with her own bun that took a messier and more textured approach. But it definitely did not lack any height. And on top of that, she accessorized it with super fun brooches that added additional bling to her dress.


Lupita Nyong'o Cinderella Hairdo

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Lupita Nyong'o looked like a dead-ringer for Cinderella in 2014 with her powder blue dress, white headband, and raised updo. She looked stunning and magical all at once.


The Faux-Hawk Ponytail

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This faux-hawk ponytail is everything edgy, creative, and amazing wrapped into one. And seeing how it strutted down the red carpet in 2014, it's pretty cool to see that three years later it's still most definitely hot.


Emma Stone's Marcel Waves

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In 2015 Emma Stone went with Old Hollywood glam and opted for a low bun and face framing Marcel waves. The result was a flashback to the Silver Screen age of the 1920's.


Lady Gaga's Creative Hairstyle

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Also in 2015 was Lady Gaga's innovative, noose-like ponytail updo. Slicked back over her ears and accented with a sprig of red flowers, it was one of the most creative hairstyles among a sea of curls and buns.


Chrissy Teigen's Messy Braid

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Chrissy Teigen's 2016 red carpet look involved a messy, bohemian braid that would make you want to start plaiting your own hair the moment you see it. It involved three braids in the back joining together to make one, and a swept up, beachy front that teased out a couple of face framing hairs. So pretty.


Rachel McAdams Slicked It Back

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Last year went for a minimalist, under stated trend, where hair was slicked back and away from the face as if the starlets just stepped out of the shower. While it might seem low-fuss and even a little uninspired when compared to the atomic hairstyles of the past, you have to admit the look lets the wearer show off her dress and makeup without distraction.

Updos are never out of trend or season, so it's going to be exciting to see which looks dominate this year's red carpet...and then fold them away for the next time we want to do up our hair for a special night out!